Reflection and Dialogue with Questions of the Day
Reflection. The readings can be taken in conjunction with part of the Preface for this day’s Mass: “You (holy Father) anointed Jesus Christ, your only Son, with the oil of gladness, as eternal priest and universal King. … As King he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almighty Father, an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”. On earth, the Church works to have the initial stages of this kingdom become a reality here on earth. All her members are called to pray that through their lives they may be witnesses that this kingdom is a living reality.
Dialogue with Questions of the Day. This celebration invites us to make a connection between Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and present-day society, and to establish a dialogue with it. The feast was first established in response to growing nationalism and secularism, particularly in Italy and Germany. In our own day secularism and secularization are ever more on the increase, not to speak of the advance of a militant atheism, attempting to lead to a denial of the very existence of God. A very early formula of faith was that Jesus Christ is Lord. The very term “lord” had far-reaching implications. With “lord” go lordship, dominion. In Paul’s day there were many who were designated as lord. One of them was the Roman emperor who was honoured as a god, and who demanded such honour. Writing to the Corinthians on a related matter Paul said (1 Corinthians 8:5-6): “Even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth – as in fact there are many gods and many lords – yet for us there is one God, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist”.
Today, with a growing desire to separate the state from the Church, and to introduce a secular society, some may be heard to assert that they are politicians, or citizens, or artists, first and then Christians or Catholics. The fidelity to his person required by Christ would not permit this. Christ does not permit anyone to put him in the second place. This question of the prior allegiance to Christ or the state goes back to the early history of the Church, and the principles to governing the matter are the same today as then.
The kingdom of God and of Christ will of necessity come into collision with the pressure that comes from a militant atheism wishing to convince people that God does not exist. Today’s feast reminds believers to be on the alert for forces at work in our world today. There is no limit to the ways in which reflection can be made on the possible forms of dialogue with the world of our own day, arising from belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.